In 2015, Roland (“The Pied Piper of Hang Time”) brought two at risk high school
students Eric & Malik to Hang Time to experience the positive energy of the Hang Time family atmosphere, in hopes of the session having a strong influence on both students. The staff of Hang Time embraced the chance to be a strong base of support and mentor for these two youth as they began to attend our sessions on a regular basis with and without Roland. We introduced the students to members of University Of New Haven recruitment team in hopes of inspiring both to pursue college. They were transported to the University for a full private tour of the campus, classrooms, and dorms. They were most impressed by the tour of world renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee exhibit and facility.
Both of these youth were considered by all to have immense potential and were true leaders
among their peers in and out of school. Hang Time helped Eric get a part time job at a local
grocery store after school. Malik searched for work but became frustrated and slowly but surely the “streets” and the all too familiar inner city circumstances lured Malik back into a life of risky behavior.
Despite the efforts of Roland and others at Hang Time between 2015 and 2017 Malik “caught a case” for being in possession of a firearm and Eric became a father. Periodically, Roland would update us on the status of Eric and Malik, who was ultimately incarcerated for his charge. Roland maintained contact with and supported each of the youth, never losing hope they could be saved and have a restart to life.
In January 2019, Eric shocked everyone by returning to a Hang Time session. Pleasantly
surprised, the entire Hang Time staff saw a very different Eric. He was clearly matured and
seemed somewhat humble compared to the Eric we knew in 2015. During the intro’s Eric told the group that he returned to Hang Time because he knew it was a place filled with positive energy and support.
Eric also told the group that he was shot in late 2018 and now wanted to become an advocate for change in the community and denounce guns and gang life. He specifically spoke of how he wants to speak directly to “young high school aged dudes” in Bridgeport schools about the importance of staying clear of the street life. Hang Time will work directly with Eric to help him deliver his message and keep him focused on change for him and all those he reaches with his words. Eric came home to Hang Time!